Death by chocolate cupcake

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By: Lisa Harris

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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.59 / 5 (417 votes)

Prep time:
20 min
Cook time:
20 min
makes 12

Chunky chocolate chip sponge, a swirl of decadent frosting and a topping made from all your favourite chocolate bars – can you handle Lisa Harris’s Death by Chocolate cupcake?


1. For the sponge: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole tin with cupcake paper cases. Tip the flour, sugar, butter and cocoa powder into a food processor and blitz on a slow speed for one minute, until you achieve a sandy consistency.

2. Gradually pour in half of the milk and beat until just incorporated. Don’t worry if it looks a little messy at this stage – it will come together! In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining milk together with the egg, vanilla essence and coffee. Pour into the batter and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl to catch any unmixed ingredients as you go. Fold through the chocolate chunks with a spoon.

3. Divide the mixture between the 12 paper cases, filling each one up two-thirds full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when prodded with a finger. Leave to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting.

4. For the frosting: Tip the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder into a food processor and beat until well combined. Add the milk and then beat again for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.

5. When the sponges have cooled completely, carefully spoon a third of the frosting into a piping bag and use it to decorate the first four cupcakes. Repeat until you have finished them all. Alternatively, just use a palette knife to spread about 2 tbsp of frosting onto each cupcake.

6. Decorate as you like with different chocolate bar pieces.


For the sponge

  • 100 g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 145 g golden caster sugar
  • 40 g butter, at room temperature
  • 20 g cocoa powder
  • 120 ml whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1tsp hot water
  • 100 g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, cut into chunks

For the frosting

To decorate

  • Assorted chocolate bars, cut into small pieces (such as Mars bars, twix, flake, maltesers, chocolate buttons…)

Tips and suggestions

Leftover frosting? Try sandwiching two digestive biscuits together with a dollop for a quick pudding.

Don't worry if your cupcake comes out of the oven looking a little flat - it's supposed to happen! A flat sponge is ideal when it comes to frosting the cupcake.

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Latest Comment


Made these today. Absolutely heavenly. Only complaint is my mixture only made 9 and there was enough icing for a second batch. However, they are really lovely. I used chocolate chips for ease.

institches65 institches65  Posted 06 May 2013 8:11 PM

I changed the 70% dark chocolate chunks to galaxy milk chunks!
Amazing. Smile
Friends are bugging me to make them again!

CharlieD27654 CharlieD27654  Posted 27 Aug 2012 11:23 AM

Love this recipe. Can I freeze the cakes and then defrost and ice when wanted?

LynD57508 LynD57508  Posted 28 Apr 2012 3:51 PM

mmmmmmmm looks so Tasty and im going to have to make them!! Xxx Smile

LucyF36537 LucyF36537 Posted 19 Apr 2012 2:10 PM

Fabulous cupcakes, lovely and moist, i only used 50g of chocolate as too stodgy with 100g.Smile

jennyB27 jennyB27 Posted 03 Mar 2012 6:30 PM

really easy to make and very tasty but way to much frosting

gemmaS51150 gemmaS51150 Posted 12 Feb 2012 11:47 AM

I loved these cupcakes. I did a slight variation on the recipe shown above and used 100g plain chocolate (not 70% cocoa as I find this too bitter) and I also mixed it with 50g mint chocolate. I found this was a lovely surprise when you bit into the cupcake as you weren't execting the fresh taste of mint. I found that when I made the frosting to the recipe above there was wayyy too much so in future I will make double the amount of cupcakes and the same amount of frosting. I topped my cupcakes with 3 malteasers and this went down well Smile

helenB13463 helenB13463 Posted 03 Feb 2012 1:14 PM

Definitely "death by chocolate". I found that there was too much frosting so when I make them again I'll probably make half the amount.

FionaS62260 FionaS62260 Posted 19 Jan 2012 4:27 PM

Ooo interesting comment Hazel. We designed them not to rise too much though, so that you have a flat surface to ice on. Love your walnut suggestion - we'll give that a go!

Charlotte - Good Food Charlotte - Good Food Posted 31 Oct 2011 11:04 AM

This does make a tasty cupcake, and works quite well with chopped walnuts instead of choc chunks. However I have found that although the mixture does rise when cooked, it really doesn't rise that much, so it works better if you use 'fairy' cake cases and make 10 cakes instead of 12.

HazelC80480 HazelC80480 Posted 28 Oct 2011 9:24 PM

LORNAG46214 LORNAG46214 Posted 11 Oct 2011 10:45 AM

Love this recipe, so easy and makes wonderful cupcakes.They are moist and so light, one thing I do is to beat the sugar and butter together first.Also i make these by hand not by food processor. Have had many comments from friends and family that they are very delicous.

LORNAG46214 LORNAG46214 Posted 11 Oct 2011 10:43 AM

a lovely light moist cupcake..... I sometimes don't add the chocolate to the mix and its still wonderful. The buttercream is divine too

suzieJ26019 suzieJ26019 Posted 29 Sep 2011 12:00 PM

Oh dear Shirlee, we're sorry to hear that. Everyone's ovens are different, so maybe you could try cranking it up a notch when baking cupcakes? And sorry you didn't like the chocolate chip addition.

Charlotte - Good Food Charlotte - Good Food Posted 26 Sep 2011 5:13 PM

I did this recipe exactly as it said and my cupcakes were flat and uncooked in the centre after 20 minutes. I noticed the consistency of the recipe seemed very runny. Also putting the chocolate pieces in - makes it far too "dark chocolatey". I didnt like this recipe at all and its such a pity.

ShirleeG18435 ShirleeG18435 Posted 23 Sep 2011 4:58 PM

taste is good

fatemaB58760 fatemaB58760 Posted 23 Sep 2011 11:39 AM

Hello Ayesha. I suggest that you use 100g plain flour and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder...good luck!

Charlotte - Good Food Charlotte - Good Food Posted 12 Sep 2011 2:06 PM

if i want to use plain white flour whts the ratio of baking powder and flour .

ayeshaR4915 ayeshaR4915 Posted 12 Sep 2011 1:25 PM